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3 hallmarks of great food delivery

Ordering takeout and delivery is more popular than ever before. Consumers get food to-go, on average, about 5.5 times each month—and numbers for men and younger consumers in particular are even higher. Men order food to-go six times a month, while diners ages 18-34 do so 7.4 times per month, according to Technomic’s Takeout & Off-Premise Dining report.

Overall, 33% of consumers are ordering food to-go more often than they were in 2013, the same report found.

With numbers like these, operators need to assess their off-premise strategy and ensure that every aspect is locked down. Where customers in a restaurant can be wowed by amazing presentation of food and customer service, third-party delivery apps and takeout orders mean that the only concrete chance to impress diners is with the delivered meal. Here are three tips for ensuring a successful delivery program.

Ensure packaging can rise to the occasion

Proper packaging for to-go orders is one of the most important—if not the most important—aspects of delivery strategy. Food should be packaged in containers that are tailored to what will make the food taste its best upon arrival. Technomic’s Takeout & Off-Premise Dining report finds that 60% of consumers say it’s important for delivered food to taste just as good as it would when dining in. Without proper planning for the optimal packaging, taste, texture and temperature can suffer.

For instance, operators should use leak-proof containers with tight-fitting lids for soups, vented containers for items that need to stay crispy and insulated packaging to ensure proper temperatures are sustainable. Not sure what type of packaging is best? Huhtamaki has an entire line of packaging solutions and is proud to partner with brands to choose the right one to fit their restaurant’s needs. For instance, if salad visibility—which helps entice customers—is a priority, brio™ molded fiber bowls are an ideal solution. If smashed burgers are a concern, sturdy hinged clamshells can save the day.

Don’t miss branding opportunities

Customers that order delivery miss out on the atmosphere that operators carefully plan. Because of that, operators need to bridge that gap to ensure brand recognition. While dining in the restaurant, a customer could see the restaurant’s logo in places like the menu, napkins, on the glassware, on walls, on their bill and more. When they’re ordering delivery, though, the food sometimes comes in unmarked paper bags or containers.

There’s a great opportunity to build brand recognition with delivery, especially if a restaurant is using sustainable or innovative packaging. Printed packaging and customized bags can help ensure that everyone eating delivery—whether it’s a small group of friends meeting for book club, a team lunch at work or anything else—knows where the delicious meal came from. For instance, Huhtamaki’s extensive line of folding carton packaging allows for custom branding opportunities.

Include everything the diner needs

Too often, customers get their meals with parts missing—and we don’t mean the burger comes without its requisite fries. No—in these cases, customers are getting their meals minus things such as utensils and condiments. Soy sauce for fried rice, dipping sauces for chicken tenders and other condiments should always be included with delivery and to-go orders—68% of consumers say that for to-go orders, they prefer that condiments come separately for them to add, according to Technomic’s Takeout & Off-Premise Dining report. Make sure staff knows which condiments go with each order so that nothing gets left behind. Additionally, make sure staff includes the proper utensils—including spoons for soup, for example—to ensure diners have everything they need for an enjoyable meal. Don’t leave money on the table by skimping on delivery offerings.

With a little bit of planning, restaurants can offer their delicious food to more people—use quality packaging, ensure the brand is well represented, and don’t forget the details, and customers will order again and again.

This post is sponsored by Huhtamaki

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